Houston-area Marine dies in Afghanistan

January 21, 2012 4:37:35 PM PST
The Defense Department reports that a Houston-area Marine assigned to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, has died of injuries suffered while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan.

A Defense Department statement issued Saturday says 22-year-old Cpl. Joseph D. Logan of Willis, Texas, was one of six Hawaii-based Marines killed when their helicopter crashed Thursday in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

The others killed were Capt. Daniel Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Wash.; Capt. Nathan McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Master Sgt. Travis Riddick, 40, of Centerville, Iowa; Cpl. Jesse Stites, 23, of North Beach, Md.; and Cpl. Kevin Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, N.J.

The crash was the deadliest in Afghanistan since August, when 30 American troops died after a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country. All six were based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, said base spokeswoman 1st Lt. Diann Olson.

Bartle and McHone were the pilots of the aircraft, while Riddick was the helicopter's crew chief.

Their squadron had been sent in August to Afghanistan as part of a seven-month deployment, Olson said.

"These men were not only experienced Marines, but they were husbands, sons, brothers and dear friends," Olson said in a statement. "The memories of our fallen Marines are engraved in each and every one who had the privilege to know and serve alongside them, and we will never forget the sacrifice they made to our country and our Corps."

All six Marines had served previously in Afghanistan, with Riddick on his fourth deployment, having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Olson said.

The cause of the crash was being investigated, but a statement issued by the NATO international military coalition said there was no enemy activity in the area when it happened.

German Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a spokesman for the NATO coalition in Kabul, said officials were looking at a "technical fault" as the possible culprit.

"The helicopter is one of the safest forms of transport," Jacobson said. He said not only does it protect troops the danger of roadside bombs on the ground, but it is a well-tested, well-proven way to travel.

The Vietnam War-era CH-53D is the same model as a helicopter that crashed and killed a Marine in a bay off Hawaii on March 29. An investigation revealed mechanical failure caused that accident.

All Sea Stallions in use are stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. The military plans to replace them with the MV-22 Osprey.